Ballet BC, Chor Leoni team up with Belgian choreographer dance set to live choir

'Program 1' runs Nov. 5 to 7 at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre, and is a collaboration between Chor Leoni and renowned Belgian choreographer Stijn Celis

'Program 1' runs Nov. 5 to 7 at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre, and features music set to words by Leonard Cohen

Stijn Celis is a renowned Belgian choreographer and set designer. He has danced in companies such as the Royal Ballet of Flanders and the Zürich Ballet. (Getty Images)

For the first time in its history, Ballet BC. is putting its dancers on stage with one of the finest male choirs in North America.

Program 1 is a collaboration with Vancouver's award-winning choir Chor Leoni, and is being directed by celebrated Belgian choreographer Stijn Celis.

Erick Lichte, the choir's artistic director, said the performance is a unique opportunity for the male choir.

"When I'm conducting or listening to music, I feel like I want to be dancing. So this is an opportunity for us to take what we do, and what we are good at, what we practice, and and be able to be a part of that expression in a completely different form," he told North by Northwest host Sheryl MacKay.

"I've been sitting in on the rehearsals and I've been in tears. I've been finding new things within this music of how the body is relating to these words, to these sounds, to this music." 

Celis said that likewise, he is encouraging the dancers to use the music to direct their performance.

"I often instruct the dancers to dance as if they are singing. I think there is a real relationship there that is really vital. So they have to dance as if they're expressing something as a voice."

The show runs Nov. 5, 6 and 7 at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre in Vancouver.

To hear the full interview with Erick Lichte and Stijn Celis, listen to the audio labelled: Ballet BC's new show has dancers accompanied on stage by a live choir for very first time


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